Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Twitter is finally doing something about trolls -- using 'behavioral signals'

Twitter is finally doing something about trolls -- using 'behavioral signals'

It actually sounds pretty simple at first: according to a Twitter blog post Tuesday, the company will simply organize conversations on Twitter differently based on "behavioral signals" created to root out trolls in "communal areas" of the social network.

Rather than completely removing tweets with negative signals, Twitter will filter them out by hiding them behind a "see more replies" button.

While these tweets will not be fully removed from the platform, Dorsey shared with Reuters that the goal is to reduce the burden from those that are receiving abuse.

Twitter has made little effort to be transparent about the kind of signals it looks for when seeking to identify accounts that, in their words, "distort the conversation".

It says if an account has not confirmed their email address, if the same person signs up for multiple accounts simultaneously, accounts that repeatedly tweet and mention accounts that do not follow them this could be seen as examples of trolling.

In a surefire move that'll surely curb internet bullying, Twitter announced on Tuesday that it is tweaking its algorithm to hide replies from trolls.

It's certainly been a tough problem to solve, but they've understandably seemed reluctant to build out changes that take down tweets without a user report and a human review.

The company said that in early testing around the world, the new algorithm has resulted in an 8 percent decrease in the number of abuse reports stemming from user interactions on the platform. According to VP of Trust and Safety Del Harvey and Director of Product Management for Health David Gasca, less than one percent of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse.

This has been an issue for so long it's a bit ridiculous, but it all has to do with the fact that Twitter really only arranges tweets by quality inside search results and in back-and-forth conversations.

Today we are introducing new behavior-based signals into how Tweets are organized and presented in areas like conversations and search. We're also looking at how accounts are connected to those that violate our rules and how they interact with each other.

Harvey and Gasca also specified that these behavioural tools are only a part of the content curation work undertaken by the company.

Twitter acknowledged it expects to make mistakes, and that the system will change, learn and improve over time. Twitter also admitted that this is just one of several approaches meant to improve people's experiences on the platform, and that there will be "mistakes", "false positives", and "things we miss". We'll continue to be open and honest about the mistakes we make and the progress we are making.

Like this: